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Published in CEMASTEA News Written by  April 09 2020 font size decrease font size increase font size
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CEMASTEA has been conducting professional development of science and mathematics teachers to change their attitudes as well as those of their students. The professional development is also conducted to shift the teaching from teacher-centered to learner-centered pedagogies. While there is commendable success in this direction, there is little empirical evidence of how the professional development initiatives affect the pedagogies that the teachers employ in their classrooms.


This impact analysis study used trained research assistants drawn from a pool of Quality Assurance and Standards Officers (QASOs) with a Science and Mathematics background to follow 40 carefully sampled teachers who had undertaken training through CEMASTEA involving Inquiry-based learning (IBL) and 5E instructional Model strategies. The teachers together with 811 of their students were selected from eight counties.


The following are findings of this research

Changes in the student’s attitudes in science and mathematics. The students hold a positive attitude towards science and Mathematics that measured 3.82 on a scale of 1-5. This attitude is not uniform for all subjects and seems to have greatly changed in favour of Physics.

Leaner-centeredness of lessons. The students reported that for every two weeks 71% of their lessons were leaner-centred. For example, in chemistry, 6.5 out of 8 lessons offered in two weeks had hands-on activities for students.

High pedagogical knowledge but lower content knowledge:  45% of the content in the lesson observed had tasks designed at the low “confirmatory” level of inquiry and another 42.5% at “structured” level of inquiry. Teachers rarely made changes in the material as presented in the course books. This may be due to low content mastery, it was noted that when in class, 53.1% of the teachers operated at higher levels of inquiry (i.e., “guided and “open” inquiry) often characterised by open-ended questions that extended learners engagement. This means that the development of pedagogical knowledge is good but there were gaps in the development of content knowledge. 


Besides, the study showed that the teachers’ practice was affected by the following issues

  • Inadequate infrastructure including laboratory space and equipment, and ICT infrastructure
  • Low morale especially due to lack of support by the school administration as well as strenuous workloads
  • Syllabus coverage with emphasis is on the pace of coverage at the expense of quality teaching. Principals did not support teaching for conceptual learning and understanding.
  • Entry characteristics of learners are deteriorating, and in many ways becoming more diverse. There are also more students with special needs. It is increasingly becoming necessary to differentiate instructions on this basis.



  • Leverage on ICT to extend professional development beyond the INSET workshop, to reach more teachers at a time, improve communities of practice among the teachers, host and share exemplar practices on an accessible cloud platform.
  • Increase frequency and length of contact with teachers to adequately inculcate a modern teaching philosophy as well as increase uptake of new pedagogies.
  • Efforts should focus teachers on improving Content mastery by focusing teachers on designing alternative activities.
  • There is an increasing need to integrate strategies for learners with Special needs
  • More research: How does fast-tracking content coverage affects learning outcomes? What is the extent of diversity in the current classes? What is the impact of the current efforts in integrating ICT?


The study recommends that to curb the dynamic variations in the students’ attitudes in mathematics and science, CEMASTEA should consider ways they can encourage interdisciplinary collaborations. The rigidity to textbooks that limits the teacher’s ability to design suitable tasks can be mitigated through encouraging creative and exciting explorations such as those in the CEMASTEAs training manuals. The students also recommend that CEMASTEA tries to train teachers as close as possible to the opening day for schools to allow them to practice what they have learned while it is still fresh in their minds.

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